Articles - June 2018

Eating & Dining Turkish food: The best restaurants in Istanbul June 25, 2018

If you have been to Turkey you know how toothsome Turkish food is, if you haven’t been there, you must! Turkish cuisine is as rich and diverse as the country’s culture. The best restaurants in Istanbul are the ones that serve the best authentic Turkish food. If you are thinking of heading there this summer, which is highly recommended, we have compiled a guide to help you navigate the beautiful city’s culinary offerings, these are the best restaurants in Istanbul. Mikla Turkish with a modern twist, this restaurant is one of the best culinary gems in Istanbul. Not only is it one of the best restaurants in Istanbul but Mikla is in the best 50 restaurants in the world, it is moving higher up the list with each passing year. Located inside Marmara Pera hotel, the restaurant offers a classy atmosphere, a wonderful view of the city in addition to the amazing food. Previous reservation is recommended; try to reserve an outdoor table if the weather permits as the view is quiet charming. Pro Tip: The fried sardines are almost too beautiful to eat, they are however immensely delicious so do not be afraid to dive right in! Neolokal Food that is pretty, artistic, and genuinely Turkish albeit with a twist, what more can you ask for in a restaurant? Overlooking the historic peninsula and the Golden Horn, the view is just as beautiful as the food. This restaurant is located inside Salt Galata, which is a former bank in Karaköy that’s been transformed into a modern art gallery. It serves contemporary interpretations of local dishes in a unique and exquisitely presented style. For a wonderful evening in Istanbul reserve a table in Neolokal, and check the art gallery in your way up to further enrich your Turkish experience. Pro Tip: Leave some room for the baklava with pistachio; it is not to be missed. Beyti This Turkish steak house has served meat lovers since 1945.  One of the most popular restaurants in the city, it represents traditional Turkish hospitality at its best. Located inside a modern Ottoman Turkish-style building, the restaurant serves delicious local grilled kebabs, alongside toothsome vegetables prepared with olive oil, and pastries filled with cheese, hungry yet? Pro Tip: If this is your first visit to the place, try the mixed grill plate as each and every kind of grill there is worth sampling. Giritli The most charming restaurant in Istanbul, this restaurant is located in a beautiful old building and has a lovely outdoor area. It is the perfect place to spend a summer night trying Turkish seafood. It is a walkable distance from Sultanahmet in the heart of Istanbul, and a definite must try for seafood lovers. Their appetizers are simply mouthwatering as are the grilled fish main courses. Pro Tip: They have an extensive menu that you can order from, but we highly recommend trying one of the set menus as they give you a chance to sample many delicious appetizers and provide good value for money. Rumelihisari Iskele The view cannot be rivaled as this restaurant lies in an Ottoman-era boat dock in the shadows of a medieval fortress right on the Bosporus. The sunset there is a view to behold. And most importantly, the food is just as inspiring as the view and the atmosphere. The seafood selection is varied and very fresh, and so is the appetizer menu. It is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul and one of the most popular restaurants by the Bosporus so reservations are highly recommended. Pro Tip: The grilled sea bass is just heavenly! And you cannot go wrong with calamari, whether it was grilled or fried. Tatbak Eat like an Ottoman emperor in this old Istanbul landmark! This restaurant was established in 1960, it has been known to serve the best Lahmacun, Turkish meet pie, in Istanbul ever since. The restaurant also serves a variety of Kebabs and other Turkish specialties. It is favored among locals as well as tourists for its simple yet elegant atmosphere and delicious food. Pro Tip: Try the Ayran, local yogurt drink with your Lahmacun for the most fulfilling and the most authentic Turkish experience. Hafiz Mustafa 1864 Not a restaurant but a pastry and coffee shop, Hafiz Mustafa is one of the must visited eateries in Istanbul. It was originally opened as a rock candy shop in 1864, Hafız Mustafa made this place a landmark when he invented poğaça which is palm size bun with or without filling. The shop serves some of the best sweet treats in Istanbul, such as Turkish delights, baklava, halva and many more, all that alongside Turkish coffee and tea. Enjoy a lovely afternoon or evening relaxing in the large cafe in Sultanahment, which has a stunning 19th century ambience, and enjoy your freshly made dessert and coffee. And do not forget to take a treat to go; you will appreciate it when you get back home. Pro Tip: You absolutely must try the pomegranate Turkish delights; they are one of the most beautiful treats in the world. To taste the amazing Turkish food see also: Travel packages to Turkey

Destinations Sri Lanka Tour: Beauty, adventure and impossible greenery September 12, 2019

Situated in beautiful colorful Asia, the culture and nature of Sri Lanka are as unique as they are alluring. The country is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination and for a good reason. A beautiful Sri Lanka tour can provide an ideal vacation for any kind of traveler. Whether you are an adventurous traveler or a laid back traveler you are bound to love Sri Lanka If you are traveling alone or accompanied by a family or a huge group of friends you are bound to love Sri Lanka. Formerly known as Ceylon, the island country is home to multiple cultures and languages. More than 3000 years of culture and 8 Unesco World Heritage Sites make Sri Lanka such a fascinating destination and unbelievable nature makes it such a colorful tour. So let’s take a virtual Sri Lanka tour, check with us the beauty, adventure and impossible greenery of the charming country. Uda Walawe National Park Elephants, elephants, and more elephants, how cute is that! Spreading over an extensive area of 30,821 hectares, the reserve was established in 1972 to provide sanctuary for wild animals. The park is most famous for elephant watching, but it is also home to herds of wild buffalo, sambar, spotted deer, and giant squirrel. Uda Walawe is a significant habitat for Sri Lankan elephants. The park comprises the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home which was established in 1995 for the main purpose of housing abandoned elephant calves. Elephant calves are nurtured at the transit home and then released back in the park when they are capable of living on their own. World’s End, The Horton Plains It takes around 3 hours to hike the 9.5km round trip, however, the view is more than worth it! Although the magnificent beauty and greenery of the plains alone is a major attraction, the trail takes you around the three main attractions in the area Mini World’s End, World’s End, and Baker’s Fall. World’s End is a stunning escarpment that plunges 880m, the hiking trail takes you there and then back to the entrance of the park, so you will not get lost. You might get a little chilly though, both from the cold as well as the view. Try to go as early as possible as the view gets obscured by mist later on the day, particularly in the rainy season from April to September. But do not fret; watching the thick wall of fog from the top is a magical experience on its own. This magnificent experience may not be for the faint-hearted, but the beautiful Baker’s falls provide a beautiful spot to relax and take a breather after the hiking and the dramatic view. The train ride to Ella This picturesque hilltop village is surrounded by beautiful green tea fields. If you take one of the most beautiful train rides in the world from Nuwara Eliya to Ella you will most definitely fall in love with the surroundings and the small laid back town. The nights are cool in and the days around 28 degrees, so the weather is almost always perfect for vacation. The Nine Arch Bridge on which the train passes is a stunning piece of architecture amidst the lush fields, so make sure to check it after you arrive and relax in the town as it would be hard to see from inside the train. You can even sit and sip Sri Lankan tea on one of the quiet cafes in the area and watch the trains pass. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa The royal capital for three centuries, Polonnaruwa was the thriving commercial and religious hub of Sri Lanka 800 years ago. The ancient city comprises many temples and religious buildings, all in a compact area that you can navigate in a tour, and all surrounded with the renowned Sri Lanka greenery. The ruins of the ancient city are mostly in good shape. You can still admire the architecture and see what once has been. If you cannot clearly see how everything looked in the old day, the museum there has models of how the city looked in ancient times. Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary A visit to the scenic town of Hikkaduwa is a must during a Sri Lanka tour, if only for the pristine beaches. The beaches in Hikkaduwa are one of the best spots for surfing in the world. You can relax or play watersports on the amazing beaches by day and enjoy the lively nightlife in the coastal city by night. What makes the visit even more marvelous is checking Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary which houses a wide array of rich colorful corals, vibrant beautiful fish, and numbers of endemic turtles. To have a real Sri Lanka tour check this: Tour packages in Sri Lanka For more tours around the world: The land of mountains and magic: Top things to do in Nepal Caribbean Countries: a tour in the Caribbean Islands Land of Fire: things to do in Azerbaijan

Adventure plan Canary Tour: Where to go in the Canary Islands June 25, 2018

If you are planning a trip to the Canary you are already on the right track, but first, do you know where to go in the Canary Islands? Near perfect weather year round allows tourists to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Canary Islands anytime of the year. Whether it is summer or winter in your home country you can travel to the Canary and enjoy a sublime weather and a beautiful vacation. This is one of the reasons why the islands are very popular among tourists. We are here to help you schedule your vacation wisely so you don’t miss a thing! If you do not know where to go in the Canary Islands here is a nice itinerary for you. Check our list of the absolutely must see sights and must do activities in the Canary Islands: Catch a cable car to Pico Del Teide With an impressive height of 3,718 meters, Teide volcano is the third highest volcano in the world and Spain's highest peak. To catch the stunning view from the peak of El Teide, The cable car provides the most enjoyable as well as the easiest way to get up. It takes only eight minutes to climb up 1200 meters to the top station. Each car holds 35 passengers and the cars leave every 10 minutes. Be sure to choose a clear day though (check the weather before you go) because if the peak is covered with clouds you might not see a thing. Some people find the experience of hanging among clouds a magical one though! However if the sky is clear, you can catch a stunning view of the volcanic valley spreading out splendidly below. You can even see the islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro rising up from the Atlantic. A truly magical view!   Explore La Gomera, the island lost in time No international airport in La Gomera, no five star chain hotels, and no masses of tourists. Nonetheless, the small island boasts magnificent natural beauty, an authentic way of life and picturesque colorful local homes. The tiny villages in the small island are one of its most attractive elements, each with its own personality and beauty. Make sure to check El Cercado to watch how local potters carefully craft traditional ceramics using techniques inherited from their ancestors. The island features one of Europe’s last remaining cloud forests due to the huge banks of swirling fog surrounding the emerald peak which rises 1487 meters above sea level. Which leads us to our next must see in the Canary Islands.   Check the surreal Parque Nacional de Garajonay Lush greenery shrouded in mists, this surreal park looks like an enchanted forest out of a fairytale. This cloud forest enjoys a much cooler temperature than the rest of the island due to the elevation and humidity. Inside this unique atmosphere you will feel like you have travelled to another world, one that is not utterly real. Garajonay is one of the best-preserved subtropical rainforests in Europe that is largely due to preservation efforts on La Gomera. The park is home to around 400 species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the Canary Islands.   Scuba dive in La Restinga Marine Reserve Thanks to the warm crystal clear waters, which allow more than 30 meters of visibility, The Canary Islands are a haven for divers. If you know how to dive, or interested in trying, then you shouldn't wonder where to go in the Canary Islands. Go Diving! Diving in the Canary Islands allows you to enjoy one of the best underwater biodiversities in the world with a water temperature of more than 20 C all year round. La Restinga is a sanctuary on El Hierro Island where turtles, tunafish, rays, grouper, dolphins and barracudas visit every year. The rich and varied biodiversity there is unbelievable, and so it the clarity of the water.   Catch a unique show at Loro Parque If you are still wondering where to go in the Canary Islands you have to catch the only killer whale show during your visit! Loro Parque is located in Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife; it comprises an aquarium where sharks, rays and fish swim among coral reefs just a few feet away from visitors. It also features a globally renowned orca show. Killer whales dance to the music and dive and jump around a giant transparent tank, which allows spectators to see all of their underwater acrobatics. Sometimes the stunts are so spectacular that those spectators get splashed by water. Moreover, the park is also renowned for its impressive collection of exotic birds. It is home to more than 300 species of parrots. If that is not enough, the park also boasts the largest penguinarium in the world, home to more than 250 penguins. It boasts an enormous enclosure as well, where visitors can see gorillas, tigers and even anteaters. The Loro Parque Foundation aims to set a safe place for the protection and conservation of endangered animals. The zoo has earned the 2008 Animal Embassy Award for sustainable and responsible management.

Adventure plan 7 Things to do for the perfect road trip September 09, 2019

If you are a free spirit with a soul that craves adventure then you might want to consider a road trip. The perfect road trip is where you will get to create unforgettable memories, ones that will definitely last for a lifetime. There is nothing exciting like a starting an adventure and exploring the world. Here is what you need to know to plan for the perfect road trip, a trip that will definitely refresh your soul and restore your faith in adventure. Prepare an epic playlist When the road is long, nothing makes it more fun and entertaining than a playlist of the latest hits and the music you and your buddies enjoy listening to. The trick here is to know how long the road will take and create a very long playlist so you and your friends don’t get bored from listening the same songs over and over again. Smart Packing The perfect road trip requires a different kind of packing. Besides your clothes and shoes; you should carry first-aid kit, spare tires, mobile charger, jumper cables to jump-start the car in case it dies as well as food, sodas, cold water and your favorite treats from chocolates, nuts and whatever makes your trip twice the fun. Plan ahead your stops You got to have some fresh air otherwise boredom will just get to you and your friends. Before hitting the road, study the route and its stops so you know ahead of time when and where you are going to recharge your batteries to keep going for a while more till your next stop. Capture every moment Road trips are the perfect opportunity to make memories and capture the beauty of the world around you. If you are travelling between countries or cities; then you should stop and do some sightseeing; dine there and have an authentic experience. Capture as many pictures as you can for the place, you and your friends! It is in these trips when you know you are creating everlasting memories. Get your car checked To avoid any unfortunate events and to make sure your road trip goes as planned, you better run a full car check before taking to the road. It's better to do this weeks before your road trip so as to give it a trial and try it out first before officially starting your trip. Don’t forget your camping gear Road trips are all about stepping out of your comfort zones, exploring the world around you and just having the adventure of a lifetime. Hence, make sure to pack your camping gear from tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, air mattresses and more. If you are traveling for days, instead of staying at a motel or a hotel; you can consider becoming one with the nature and just have a perfect night sleep under the stars. Prepare games Bored with music! Then games are your second option to opt for as they will keep you entertained during your road trip. There are plenty of road trip games that you will actually enjoy such as singing games, movie games, the name game…etc. If you do all this, you'll get the perfect road trip that you dream of, all you have to do is to plan well for a memorable journey. Also, read: Unforgettable Road Trips: 12 Road Trips you should not miss

Nature The most beautiful islands: The alien beauty of Socotra Island February 24, 2019

They call it the most alien-looking place on Earth, but Socotra Island is definitely one of the most beautiful islands as well. Part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, The island of Socotra is so isolated that more than a third of its plant life is endemic, meaning that it is found nowhere else on Earth. The Archipelago of Socotra has been totally isolated from any large landmass for millions of years. That is why it is now home to an astonishing display of biodiversity. This unique diversity makes Socotra one of the most beautiful islands on Earth. They say that if you fall asleep and wake up on Socotra Island you might think that you have been abducted by aliens, the Island does not look like anywhere else on the planet. So let’s discover the unparalleled beauty of one of the most beautiful islands in the world, take a look at Socotra Island. What does the Island look like? Located between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, Socotra Island is the largest of the four islands that make the Socotra archipelago. The three smaller islands are Abd al Kuri, Samhah and Darsa. The territory is officially part of Yemen, and had always been a subdivision of the Aden Governorate. However in 2013, the archipelago became its own governorate, the Socotra Governorate. 240 kilometers east off the coast of Cape Guardafui and 380 kilometers south of the Arabian Peninsula, The Island is seriously isolated. It is one of the most isolated landforms on the planet of continental origin rather than of volcanic origin. How long has it been on the map? Despite its isolation, the Island of Socotra has been a significant stop in trading routs surfing the Indian Ocean for many years. In 2001 a group of scientists of the Socotra Karst Project investigated a cave on the island where they found a large number of inscriptions, drawings and diverse archaeological objects. Additional examination showed that these findings had been left by sailors who visited the island between the 1st century BC and the 6th century AD. Even though Marco Polo did not pass anywhere near the island, his travels stated a report about what he heard of its inhabitants through his journey. He heard that the inhabitants of the unique island practiced ancient magic rituals despite being baptized Christians. However these might just be the tales of the sailors as he has never been there himself. How many endemic species are there? Socotra Island is an oasis of biodiversity in the Middle East. The island is definitely one of the most beautiful islands in the world after the rain, when those most unusual plants are in full bloom, and the most unusual birds are chirping. A team of United Nations biologists conducted a study of the archipelago’s flora and fauna In the 1990s. They counted nearly 700 endemic species, found nowhere else on earth. No wonder the island looks so alien! One of the most renowned as well as the most unusual endemic plants in Socotra Island is the dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari). This weird-looking tree with its snugly-bundled branches that look like upside down roots has a red sap that people in ancient times thought to be the blood of dragons. This plant is locally known as Dam al-Akhawain, which means blood of the two brothers. The island is also home to numerous endemic fauna, mainly birds and reptiles. Unfortunately many endemic bird species are endangered as a result of predation by non-native feral cats. The good news is that the island was recognized by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site in July 2008. Who lives on Socotra Island? Most of the inhabitants of Socotra live on the main island of the archipelago, specifically in the main city, Hadibu. The other islands are either sparsely inhabited or uninhabited. Unique to the core, the main language of the people in Ssocotra is The Semitic language Soqotri, spoken only in Socotra. People of Socotra have traditionally worked in fishing, raising cattle, and cultivating dates. The island's exports mainly consist of dates, fish, ghee and tobacco. How can I go there? The construction of a new airport in 1999 opened Socotra to the outside world. Regular flights are available to and from Aden and Sana'a. Moving around the island though is another matter. Road construction has been deemed as damaging to the island and its ecosystem. For more eco-friendly alternatives, companies have started offering bicycle for touring the island. There is a port on Socotra as well; Ships connect the port with the Yemeni coastal city of Mukalla. However, the service is used mostly for cargo.